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Game Reviews & Afterthoughts

Metal Gear Solid 2 Review
The most impressive and immersive stealth action game ever created.

 

Game Information
Name Metal Gear Solid 2
Console PlayStation 2
Developer Konami JPN
Publisher Konami
Genre Action Adventure
Release Date November 13, 2001
# of Players 1
Peripherals Mem Card

Coming off the first Metal Gear Solid, MGS2 was definitely one of the most anticipated games of 2001. Not only were all the gamers waiting for it, but Sony as well, as it naturally would boost PlayStation 2 sales for the holidays by as much as 2 fold. This game had a lot riding on it. Konami, Sony and all the gamers expectations of a sequel to such a great game. Luckily for everyone, and Hideo Kojima's reputation (the lead designer and creator of the Metal Gear series) this game does not disappoint in any way, shape or form. You may have heard from critics that the game is too "cinematic", but in reality that's just a lame argument. The game features an incredibly intense story, which you can read more about in the gameplay section of this review.

Metal Gear Solid 2, just like the first game, tries to be as realistic as possible. If we check on the screenshots just to the left, we can see that it easily achieves this realism look. It's pretty obvious that the creators also knew how awesome the graphics were in this game when they realized that there was no need for in game FMV movies. All the cutscenes are done in real time, and it still looks good. The one screenshot to the left that has the letterbox is an example of a cutscene and how awesome the graphics can be, even on an older system like the PS2. The rest of the screenshots are all from in game and live action. Can you imagine playing in full motion what you're looking at on the left right now? Pretty incredible.

Perhaps the only beef one might have with the graphics is the bland texture style of the environments and the bland environments themselves. This isn't a fantasy game and because of that fact there is a lack of creativity in the environments. For example, if you enter a bathroom, you see exactly what you would expect and nothing more. The textures on things like walls and doors are all the same, and very simple. They work for the game, however, if you were trying to impress someone with technical feats, it would be wise to focus on the awesome character detail, modelling and lighting. Take note of the few pictures that show the lights from the characters guns. This light is perfectly fluid in game and just makes the game even that more suspenseful, even though it's such an easy feature to include in the game.

 

Audio Sample
Track 1:
Track 2:

Well you know the music is good when Konami hires one of the leading Movie Score composers to create the music for their game. Harry Gregson-Williams is the composer for all the Metal Gear Solid 2 music. He does an excellent job remixing the old themes with a new touch as well are providing gamers with new ambient and suspenseful tracks. Much of this music would fit perfectly in a movie, which MGS2 at times might seem like because it's so realistic. The game truly sucks you in so that you won't put it down and the music adds to this effect much more than most games.

Learning Curve
Game Difficulty:
Medium
Game Length:
15 Hours

The gameplay of MGS2 is exactly what you would expect. It's an exact continuation of MGS1 with more cool features, guns, and tricks added. If you don't know what this means, it means sneaking around in enemy terrirtory where there are guards everywhere. If one detects you, he alerts all the others and you have to run and hide until they decide to give up searching for you. Now, you aren't just a wuss, you do kill guys, snipe them and snap their necks from behind. However, often you have to sneak, because theres too many in a pack to kill them all without the alarm being touched by one. This sneaking takes many forms as well. There is the obvious, crawling, and walking, but there are much more cool and fun tactics such as knocking on walls to get a guard to check around the corner one way, while you run past on the other. My personal favorite is hiding under cardboard boxes and slowly shuffling right past guards when they aren't looking.

As said above, the game also incorporates and awesome story, but many critics say this comes at too great of a price. There are many times where you will sit back, grab popcorn and watch the story unfold. Sometimes you may sit there for as long as 5-7 min just waiting to play. Whether you believe this to be a good or bad thing is all personal opinion. It's ironic that gamers and game reviewers always whine about the quality of a story, finally Konami delivers on this plee and then they find something new to whine about. The bottomline is, the story is very entertaining and enjoyable, so be patient and enjoy the game for what it is. People always seem to insult anything that's different, even if it's better than the status quo. MGS2 falls exactly in this type of catch-22. There is however no arguing that when you are actually playing the game (as opposed to watching it), you're having a great time doing it.

 

Theres only one word to describe this game in terms of presentation, and that is "Wow". You really have everything. A great story, perhaps the best voice acting in a game ever and plenty of cutscenes for you to enjoy. This game is also available now in a greatest hits version, which means its value is instantly huge considering how good the game is. There really is no excuse in now owning Metal Gear Solid 2, so if you haven't played it yet, head on over to your local game store and pick it up!

 

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John Palamarchuk ©2006
http://www.palamarchuk.com